Turning to the phone when email falls short – and how to make email more effective

As translators, we’re comfortable with written words, but that doesn’t mean that we have to rely exclusively on email to communicate with clients. A phone call can sometimes be a more efficient use of our time.

How do you know if it’s time to pick up the phone? It might be time if you find yourself in an email exchange that feels like it’s going to be more than a couple of back-and-forth replies.

Or if you notice that the emails you’re receiving tend to be one-liners.

Or if you’re working on a project whose scope seems vastly different from what you agreed to.

All of those situations will require a lot of energy and time from you – time that could be better spent on your project.

Eliminate any possible confusion and endless email threads – have a quick call with the client instead to save time.

And if it turns out the phone call ends up taking longer than you anticipated, try to think of the upside. You’ve made a more personal connection that could lead to a stronger working relationship.

If you prefer not to talk on the phone, that’s fine, too. You can make your email replies more effective and less likely to require a phone call at all.

Take the following situation: A client contacts you to see if you are available but doesn’t provide the source file or much info about the project. You can save some back and forth by replying with a rough delivery estimate, info about rates and a reminder that you would need to see the source file before committing.

Since you’ve provided this information up front, you’ll only need to exchange one or two more emails to get the source file and purchase order … and then get started on your work.

By making our emails as effective as possible, we’ll be able to spend less time on email and phone calls and more time on the work we love.


Melissa Kamenjarin

Author: Melissa Kamenjarin

Melissa is a Success by Rx copywriter and Spanish/English translator, writer, editor and proofreader specializing in educational materials, health insurance, non-profits, and published fiction and non-fiction books, blogs and websites. Melissa is the Secretary and blog writer for ATISDA (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area). An American Translators Association (ATA) member, she is also the Copy Editor for the ATA Medical Division’s publication, Caduceus.

Posted in Business, Productivity, Technology.

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